LOS ANGELES (CBSNewYork/AP) — It took the Los Angeles Clippers a while to get going against a team with nothing left to play for this season.
Eventually, they found some separation in the fourth quarter and went on to a 105-95 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
Jamal Crawford scored 26 points off the bench, Chris Paul had 23 points and 12 assists and J.J. Redick added 19 points for the Clippers, who have won consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 5-8 when they won three in a row on the road.
“I got in a pretty good rhythm,” Crawford said. “We just see what’s working for us on a particular night. I have the easy part of just shooting. Those guys are drawing up plays and getting open, so credit to them as well.”
Brook Lopez had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, which was going for its first three-game winning streak of the season. Instead, the Nets lost their fifth straight to the Clippers at Staples Center.
“They trust one another and know exactly where they’re going to be on the floor at all times offensively and defensively, and that’s something we want to work toward,” Lopez said. “It’s our job to continue building that trust and belief.”
Crawford carried the Clippers in the fourth, which began with them clinging to a two-point lead. He helped them open their first double-digit lead of the game on a jumper that made it 97-86.
“What I remember is Jamal Crawford, one-on-one, jump shot goes in. You see the pick and roll with DeAndre (Jordan) and Chris Paul and the lob-dunk goes in,” interim Nets coach Tony Brown said. “They’ve been playing well together since losing some of their key guys. There was just not enough defensively that we could take away from a lot of their scorers at the end.”
Twice in a row, Paul fed Jordan, who converted alley-oops into monster jams. They teamed up again for the same play on the Clippers’ final basket. Jordan had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Clippers’ defense got stops, too, and the Nets twice turned the ball over on offensive fouls.
“When you are playing a team that is out of the playoffs, if you don’t make it really hard for them, then they are going to have fun,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “That is how they played. To make those teams go away, you have to make it a hard night for them defensively. We did it down the stretch, but we didn’t do it all game.”
Brooklyn outscored the Clippers 16-4, including seven points by Bojan Bogdanovic, to lead by six late in the third. Los Angeles answered by scoring the final eight points to take an 81-79 lead into the fourth after Crawford’s pull-up jumper beat the buzzer. Bogdanovic finished with 19 points.
The Clippers trailed by eight to start the game and found themselves in a back-and-forth throughout the first half. Neither team led by more than eight, and there were 12 ties and nine lead changes. Led by seven points from Paul, the Clippers closed on a 15-6 run to lead 52-46 at the break.
Nets: G Wayne Ellington, who finished with 13 points, ran into Jordan’s shoulder and left the game with 6:02 left in the third. The team later said he has a possible concussion. … They haven’t won three straight road games since March 21-April 1, 2015. … They are 2-5 in leap day games.
Clippers: They swept the season series for the first time since 2007-08. … They are 22-7 without injured Blake Griffin. … Reserve G Austin Rivers, out with a left hand fracture, will be re-evaluated Tuesday. He could possibly return the next day. … Team owner Steve Ballmer introduced a new mascot at halftime named Chuck, a California condor with a pink head, a large blue nose and a gray body. Ballmer promised fans a pair of red Converse sneakers if he dunked, and using a trampoline, the owner successfully did using both hands. … A fan hit a halfcourt shot in the fourth quarter to win a new Jeep.
Clippers forward Luc Mbah a Moute, who has been starting in place of Griffin, sustained a left eye laceration. He didn’t receive stitches, but will be re-examined on Tuesday. He is questionable for Wednesday’s game.
“He does all the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet,” Paul said.
Most of the Clippers didn’t see Ballmer’s dunk because they were in the locker room at halftime.
“I was worried about him,” Rivers said. “I know he was working on it. He’s a brilliant guy and when he told me he was doing it I had to question it.”
Paul didn’t initially believe Ballmer had done it.
“I want to see how many other owners could do that,” he said. “Put them out there on All-Star Saturday night.”
Nets: Visit the Lakers on Tuesday night. The Nets lost the first meeting 104-98 on Nov. 6.
Clippers: Host Thunder on Wednesday night, the first of three meetings between the teams in March.
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